LSU Tigers: Chancey Aghayere

Spring preview: Positions of need

March, 6, 2013

As LSU prepares to begin spring practice March 14, GeauxTigerNation will take daily looks at aspects of the spring camp. This is the third in the series:

BATON ROUGE, La. -- If you watched the NFL combine, you saw former LSU defensive linemen and defensive backs lining up to take their turns in drills.

So you want to know the areas of need as we head to the spring?

The combine gave you most of the answers.

Defensive end

Players lost: Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, Lavar Edwards, Chauncey Aghayere

Experience returning: Jermauria Rasco

Other candidates: Danielle Hunter, Jordan Allen, Justin Maclin.

Outlook: LSU won't have all of its candidates until August, when a trio of true freshmen arrive. But it'll be interesting to see who emerges out of the four veterans. Rasco worked his way into the top four last season and Hunter was a nice special teams player. Allen is coming off a knee injury. Any strong play from these four would be great news in the spring.

Defensive tackle

Players lost: Bennie Logan, Josh Downs

Experience returning: Anthony Johnson, Ego Ferguson

Others: Quentin Thomas, Mickey Johnson, Christian LaCouture.

Outlook: LSU is a little more solid here than at end because Johnson and Ferguson have seen plenty of snaps. Ferguson needs to step his game up though. There's a lot of talk that Thomas is a guy who might step up and earn significant playing time, possibly even challenging Ferguson for a starting spot. True freshman Maquedius Bain and Greg Gilmore will arrive in August. Another freshman, LaCouture, is already on campus.

Lamin Barrow
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireLamin Barrow is one of several options that LSU has to replace Kevin Minter at middle linebacker.

Middle linebacker

Player lost: Kevin Minter

Experience returning: Lots of players, but are there any natural MLBs?

Outlook: This position is more a matter of finding the right guy than finding a guy. Does LSU move weak linebacker Lamin Barrow there? Does D.J. Welter, who was second team in the Chick-fil-A bowl after missing the season for academic reasons, get a shot? How about young Ronnie Feist? There are no shortage of candidates. It's just a matter of finding the right fit.

Left tackle

Player lost: Chris Faulk, Josh Dworaczyk

Experience returning: La'el Collins (could be moved from left guard), Vadal Alexander (could be moved from right tackle).

Others: Jerald Hawkins, Evan Washington, Jonah Austin, Ethan Pocic.

Outlook: Like middle linebacker, there are candidates here, but which one is the best fit? Collins was a highly-regarded prospect coming out of high school, but he got comfortable at left guard as a sophomore and there could be a reluctance to move him. Hawkins is a talented redshirt freshman, but do you really want a redshirt freshman blocking quarterback Zach Mettenberger's blind side? Alexander, last year's starter at right tackle, could be an option as well, but that would leave the Tigers having to find a new starter for two positions.

History says LSU will have pros, busts 

January, 29, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- As LSU puts the finishing touches on its 2013 recruiting class, one might ask what to expect from the incoming class.

One way to judge is through history.

Looking at the last three classes to complete their eligibility -- and the first three that existed in the RecruitingNation era (starting in 2006) -- one can see some noticeable patterns.

Top LSU recruit misses 

January, 22, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Under Les Miles, LSU has been great about finding an obscure prospect and turning him into a solid college player, an award-winner and often a high NFL draft pick.

That doesn't mean the Tigers aren't immune to players who turn out to not be as good as promised.

Here are five that didn't pan out as advertised since ESPN started rating players in 2006. In all five cases the player was guilty of nothing more than not being as good as many thought he would be. All but one finished their four-year LSU career and won at least one SEC title and played for, or won, a national championship:

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Where LSU will need help: Defense 

January, 3, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The commitment of Maquedius Bain to LSU on Wednesday made perfect sense.

Bain, the No. 6 defensive tackle in the ESPN 150 and the highest-rated of the Tigers' 24 commitments, figures to play at LSU early. And he'll play a position where the Tigers have a tremendous recent track record for getting players to the NFL. Part of the reason there is a need for defensive tackles in this LSU class (Bain is one of four DT commitments in the class) is the presumed early departure of junior Bennie Logan to the NFL.

If Bain does play immediately, it will continue an LSU trend: Tiger freshmen should come ready to play because many of them will play. LSU used 15 true freshmen in the 2012 season, including four who started and a fifth who was a special-teams starter.

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3 up, 3 down: LSU 20, Arkansas 13 

November, 25, 2012
Three things we liked, and didn't like, from LSU's 20-13 win over Arkansas Friday:

Three up

1. Jarvis Landry: If you haven't seen Landry's spectacular 22-yard touchdown catch from Zach Mettenberger in the second quarter, you should take a look. The twisting, one-handed grab while staying inbounds in the back of the end zone was not only the catch of the weekend, it was possibly the catch of the year in college football.

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Gilmore fills big need for the Tigers 

November, 8, 2012

What was once a trouble spot in LSU's recruiting efforts suddenly starts to look like a strength.

Greg Gilmore's commitment to LSU on Thursday evening is the latest in a groundswell of good news for the future of the Tigers' defensive line. It's no secret that LSU is likely going to lack experience in its defensive trenches when next season rolls around.

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Kicking it with LSU's Sam Montgomery

September, 21, 2012
Heading into the 2012 season, it was hard to find a more well-rounded SEC defensive end than LSU's Sam Montgomery.

He could have left school early last year and headed for the NFL, and no one would have questioned him. But he decided to stay in Baton Rouge to not only become a better player but he wanted to earn his degree as well.

To him, the league could wait.

Through three games, Montgomery has registered seven tackles, with 2.5 for loss and a sack, and has three quarterback hurries.

Montgomery took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with about the season so far and how he really feels about turning down millions in the NFL.

You had kind of an awkward start to the year by not starting, but you've come on strong since. How have the first three weeks of the season been like for you?

[+] EnlargeSam Montgomery
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireSam Montgomery says his coaches love his energy come game time because the defense feeds off it.
Sam Montgomery: This year, so far, has been like a roller-coaster ride for me. It's been up and down, up and down. But the one thing that's stayed consistent is that I've gone out there and played my hardest and played my technique. I try to get off my block and try to make all the tackles that I can and stay excited for the team, being as I'm one of the energy guys out there. They feed off my energy. My plays will come, but the overall thing is that I play my assignment with full effort, full technique and everything comes together for the team. The "W" is what's important.

What was going through your mind when the coaches came to you and said you wouldn't be starting the opener?

SM: When I wasn't starting, I looked at it as we have the best, top 3 defensive ends in the country. It also gave my buddy Lavar [Edwards] a chance to show and display his talent, which he's been doing a great job of consistently. That will probably give him a higher chance at the next level and to pursue his career and dreams because he's a great defensive end. I have no problem with me, [Barkevious] Mingo or Lavar [playing] because I know they'll go out there and handle their jobs. All I know is that third man, no matter who it is, it's going to add on some extra pressure for that tackle coming in because we have three powerful forces, plus, the young guy Chancey Aghayere.

With all the hype and attention you got heading into the season, did not going out first in the opener motivate you?

SM: Of course it did. Being a guy that doesn't really listen to what people say or look at where everybody ranks me at, I'm just trying to help and win games so I can make my memories with my teammates last a little bit longer. That's all that really matters to me. What other people think is all good, well and dandy, but, at the end of the day, it's all about LSU and all about my defensive line being able to play longer into the season together, so we can build our memories and our friendships that will last forever.

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Countdown to camp: Rush to the draft 

July, 3, 2012
GeauxTigerNation writers David Helman and Gary Laney break down the competitions, issues and talking points of LSU's August camp. Players report to campus Aug. 1 and we'll have a preview segment every weekday in July leading up to the day the players report:

When defensive tackle Michael Brockers went No. 14 overall in the NFL draft to the St. Louis Rams, the natural question for LSU fans became, "Can our defensive line be as good without him?"

ESPN's Mel Kiper put some of those fears to rest within a day when he came out with his first Big Board for the 2013 draft and LSU defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo were two of his top five picks

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Miles on character of players at LSU Pro Day
LSU head coach Les Miles discusses pro day participants with SEC Network analyst Greg McElroy.